Update on recognition payments for independent health and social care workers

Last month, Health and Social Care statutory sector employees received a one-off HSC Staff Recognition Payment of up to £500 (pro rata for part-time staff), in recognition of their work throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, in very challenging circumstances. The payment was first announced by the Health Minister in January 2021.

Staff in the independent sector may also qualify for the recognition payment however eligible staff are not due to receive their payment until the early Autumn. The Department of Health is currently working with the Health and Social Care Board to put the necessary arrangements in place.

In the meantime, we would encourage all staff who may be eligible, and who are in receipt of Universal Credit, to consider how this payment could impact on their Universal Credit calculation. We are aware of some statutory sector employees who received their payment in full in July and, due to this increasing their salary for that month, their UC payment was reduced or even stopped, leaving them worse off.

The Department of Health has offered the option for staff to receive their recognition payment in instalments phased over three months. Staff will be asked to opt-in to that arrangement. Make sure you know what the best option is for you, so that you aren’t left out of pocket as a result of receiving this recognition payment.

If you are unclear what would be the best option for you, contact our Family Benefits Advice Service on 028 9267 8200 for free, confidential and impartial advice.

Further information, including some FAQs, is available on the Department of Health’s website.